NH health officials issue warning after child diagnosed with measles virus

KEENE, N.H. (WHDH) - New Hampshire health officials are warning the public after a child was diagnosed with the measles virus.

State officials say the source of the infection is still under investigation.

Officials have released details about public places the child visited in the hopes of warning residents who may have come into close proximity with the highly contagious disease:

  • The nursery (9am – 1pm) and coffee hour (11am – 2pm) at the United Church of Christ in Keene on Sunday, May 12.
  • The infant/toddler room at the Keene Montessori School on 125 Railroad St. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 16.
  • The Walk-in Clinic at Cheshire Medical Center at 149 Emerald St. in Keene from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 16.

Officials with the state’s Department of Health and Human Services says those who have not received the age-appropriate MMR vaccination or who have not been previously infected could be impacted if they were in these locations at similar times and are urged to review their “measles vaccination or immunity status.”

Those who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to contact the state’s health department as soon as possible by calling 603-271-9461 or 800-852-3345, x9461.

State officials say anyone who is not immune and was potentially exposed may need an immediate vaccination. Additionally, to prevent the further spreading of the contagious disease, those who feel sick are encouraged to call their health care provider before going to a health facility.

The state’s epidemiologist, Dr. Benjamin Chan, says measles is “a very contagious disease that can be spread through the air, but the vaccine for measles is very safe and effective. Anybody that believes they may have been exposed at one of the listed locations and is not vaccinated or immune should call the NH Division of Public Health Services.”

State officials say measles symptoms typically begin with fever, coughing, a runny nose, and conjunctivitis before developing a body rash. It can be spread via the air when someone who is infected sneezes, coughs, or talks.

Officials also say the measles vaccine (MMR) is a safe and effective way to prevent the disease and that more than 99 percent of those who receive the two mandated doses of the vaccine develop an immunity.

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